Sunday 25 February 2018 / 06:38 PM


Australia are on the brink of series defeat in India after a disastrous third day of the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala.

The hosts require a mere 87 runs for victory with all 10 wickets in hand when they resume on Tuesday, knocking over the tourists for just 137 with a spin masterclass. Meanwhile, Steve Smith was once again in the spotlight after appearing to call Murali Vijay a “f**king cheat” from the Australian dressing room when the TV cameras were trained on the captain.

On the opening day of the Test, mercurial skipper Smith (111) – with some help from David Warner (56) and Matthew Wade (57) – steered Australia to a first-innings total of 300.

Lokesh Rahul (60), Cheteshwar Pujara (57), Aninkya Rahane (46) and Ravindra Jadeja (63) were instrumental in giving India a 32-run lead by the time they were bowled out 27 overs into day three. Nathan Lyon (5/92) was the pick of the Aussie bowlers, while comeback kid Pat Cummins (3/94) impressed again with his bounce barrage.

Warner’s half-century in the first innings unfortunately wasn’t a portent for a return to form, gone for just 6 after being caught-behind off Umesh Yadav. Smith (17) and Matt Renshaw (8) then fell in consecutive overs (to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yadav respectively) to leave Australia teetering at 3/31.

Glenn Maxwell (45) and Wade (25 not out) were the only batsmen to make any sort of impression, but their efforts were lost amongst the failures of the top order, along with Peter Handscomb (18) and Shaun Marsh (1).

The last seven wickets fell for just 50 runs as Yadav, Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin all finished with three scalps apiece.

Smith was fuming after Vijay claimed a catch from No.11 Josh Hazlewood, which was denied when replays showed the Indian opener had grassed it.

Rahul (13 not out) and Vijay (6 not out) saw India through to stumps with no casualties, a come-from-behind series triumph now almost certain – barring a horrific batting collapse and a heroic bowling performance from Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Cummins and Hazlewood on day four.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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